Old West Wing

Went back thru my LOC collection and added some pictures of the Taft-Hoover Oval Office, old Cabinet Room, and old laundry.

UPDATE: I noted the presence of future presidents Coolidge and Hoover in the Harding Cabinet pic and Hoover in the Coolidge Cabinet.

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18 thoughts on “Old West Wing

  1. The Coolidge Cabinet Room is interesting because there are two presidents in the photo: 1/”Silent Cal” Coolidge and 2/Herbert Hoover, his sucessor.

    Also notice the spitoon between CC and the man on our right.

    I think Hoover may also be in the same location in the Harding photo.

  2. The Coolidge Cabinet Room is interesting because there are two presidents in the photo: 1/”Silent Cal” Coolidge and 2/Herbert Hoover, his sucessor.

    Also notice the spitoon between CC and the man on our right.

    I think Hoover may also be in the same location in the Harding photo.

  3. Great pictures of the O.O. and the Cabinet Room. Have you noticed that the mantel in the old cabinet room is the same one that’s in the current cabinet room? – And I think Derek mentioned that the mantel that’s in the Roosevelt Room is the same one that used to be in Teddy Roosevelt’s “square” office, in the original West Wing.

    Oh, those great reproduction windsor chairs and those nice small hepplewhite(ish) tables in the lobby. I want them. I have a “thing” for windsor chairs.

    Seeing Silent Cal makes me think of that old joke:

    Tourist in New England sees an “Old Timer” and strikes up a conversation:

    Tourist: “Well, sir, have you lived in New England all your life?”

    Old Timer: “Not yet”.

  4. Another “Silent Cal” story. He almost always had some member of Congress at the WH for breakfast. One day a MOC visitor told Coolidge, “Mr. President, I bet I can make you say more than two words to me.” Without hesitating Coolidge looked at him and said, “You lose.”

  5. Another “Silent Cal” story. He almost always had some member of Congress at the WH for breakfast. One day a MOC visitor told Coolidge, “Mr. President, I bet I can make you say more than two words to me.” Without hesitating Coolidge looked at him and said, “You lose.”

  6. Taking another look at the Harding Cabinet photo, is that Coolidge in the back near the door, making 3 presidents in that picture? I can’t see it clearly enough to be sure.

  7. That Humphrey-Johnson pic must have been broken for weeks. Not sure how I missed it when I added the new ones.

  8. Stephen M – I think it could very well be Cal.There seem to be 5 chairs on each side of the table, but with the extra person (Cal?) there are ll, instead of 10. At the time of Harding and Coolidge, there were 10 Cabinet Posts.

  9. I was looking at the wonderful architectural details in the original "temporary" West Wing. It's especially interesting to me that McKim, Mead & White tied the new building to the historical White House by replicating Hoban's 1817 doorcasings and cornerblocks, but incorporating operating transoms above the doors to encourage air circulation. I suppose they must have had electric fans in 1902, but obviously no airconditioning. Anybody who's been to Washington in the summertime can feel for these people of 1902! And they wore more – and more formal – clothes then! No "casual Fridays"!

    Wow! That laundry room looks a bit seedy – but at least Latrobe’s beautiful lunette windows add a bit of grace…

    By the way, if you *are* interested in Latrobe’s architecture, my friend Patrick Snadon – along with his co-author Michael Fazio – have recently published an incredible book on Latrobe: “The Domestic Architecture of Benjamin Henry Latrobe” (John Hopkins Press). It’s a huge book, almost 800 pages and deals (in awesome detail) with Latrobe’s work both in England (before he came to America in 1795) and his work in America – including his work at the White House. It lists for $75.00, but can be found for much less on Amazon, etc. Patrick has told me that he has a severe case of “Latrobe-aphobia” after the 15 years required to research and produce this book!

  10. I bought “The Domestic Architecture of Benjamin Henry Latrobe” back when it came out about a year ago. I confess that I have not read it cover to cover. Rather I’ve been dipping into various sections on specific buildings. It is a truly wonderful book!

    McKim Mead and White also reproduced Hoban’s ornamental vocabulary in the residence in the Red, Blue and Green Rooms and upstairs in the family quarters. Looking at the construction photos, even what remained of Hoban’s interior was in pretty sad shape by the end of the 19th century, and certain rooms, such as the Red Room, had lost all of Hoban’s door enframements, etc.
    Chris

  11. I bought “The Domestic Architecture of Benjamin Henry Latrobe” back when it came out about a year ago. I confess that I have not read it cover to cover. Rather I’ve been dipping into various sections on specific buildings. It is a truly wonderful book!

    McKim Mead and White also reproduced Hoban’s ornamental vocabulary in the residence in the Red, Blue and Green Rooms and upstairs in the family quarters. Looking at the construction photos, even what remained of Hoban’s interior was in pretty sad shape by the end of the 19th century, and certain rooms, such as the Red Room, had lost all of Hoban’s door enframements, etc.
    Chris

  12. Chris – Patrick will be pleased to know that you’ve enjoyed the Latrobe book. He suggests using a forklift when moving the book from place to place, to avoid back injury. He also says it’s an excellent door stop. As heavy and scholarly (in all ways) as the book is, Patrick has a great sense of humor and is a very nice person.

    My guilty confession: I haven’t read the book from cover to cover either. I’ll see him in October and I want to have read at least the essays at the beginning of each section so I won’t look like a total dunce!

  13. Seriously, please let Patrick know that his book has brought me GREAT pleasure. His analyses of Latrobe’s floor plans are especially excellent. It’s amazing how sophisticated his planning was in what were really rather small houses.

    I got a used copy of Talbot Hamlin’s biography of Latrobe at the same time as I got his book, and it’s really interesting to read the two in tandem. I love Hamlin, but he was a child of his times, and his Romantic/Modernist bias really shows.
    Chris

  14. Chris – if you’re ever near Chillicothe, Ohio (I was at my brother’s in Cincinnati after Katrina) GO SEE “Adena” – Latrobe’s house for the Worthington family. I had no idea that it was on top of a “little mountain” just like Monticello. The house is amazing; the views of the surrounding small mountains are amazing. William Seale was the consultant for the 2003 renovation/reinterpretation of the interiors. The whole situation of the house and grounds is just sublime. And I hope to see the Pope Villa in Lexington, Ky, when I go to Cincinnati in a few weeks. I’ll certainly tell Patrick that you love the book! And yes, I have the Talbot Hamlin “Latrobe” as well.

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